The sweat. The drip. The soak. The slip. Welcome to summer yoga.
Nasty? Therapeutic? Cathartic? Cleansing? Liberating? Risky? Exhausting? Depends on your perspective. Whatever it is, though, doing yoga in the summer is significantly different than in the winter, especially in this big bad NY city. Over the summers of practicing and teaching, I have come to learn a few critical facts that can make YOUR summer sweat better, smoother, chiller.
1. DON’T SLIP! Yes, your mat is sweaty. And yes, it is made of rubber. But you do not HAVE to slip! They key to the non-slip is not buying $80 towel, but rather using what you already have – your intrinsic muscles. The body is composed of the major muscle groups, yes, but also countless other smaller muscles, especially around the hands and feet. If you engage all of them, even if you do not exactly know their names or what they are, you will not slip. This goes for the back leg in Warrior II, to the top of the feet in Up Dog, to your hands and feet in wheel, the infamous Down Dog, and everything in between.
Example: Instead of plopping and ‘being’ in Down Dog, press down extra on your index finger and thumb, and from there across the four corners of the palm of your hand. Make sure you are then pressing down on all three knuckles of all ten fingers. Contract your quadriceps and reach down through the back of your legs, distributing the weight more evenly across the front and back of each foot. Let your neck hang, but suck your abdomen up, realigning your center of gravity.
2. LET it SWEAT. You are going to end up soaked in sweat no matter what, at least after an I.AM.YOU. class, so just drip with it! As tough as it may sound, try not to wipe your face or limbs with a towel. The seasons change, and your body changes with them for a reason, whether you like it or not. Use the free flowing sweat as a natural cleansing mechanism for your insides after months of stagnation and hibernation. Let each bead of sweat be a release of an intangible or tangible toxin on your insides; let your summer body clean itself.
3. HOLD OFF on the H20. Had to leave this one for last on fear of virtual attacks, but it has to be said. Drinking water during a yoga class is not the same as drinking water during a bootcamp, hoops match, or anything else. The whole purpose of yoga is to change your body from the inside, out, and to move your internal energy upwards. Like this you can create your ideal body and your ideal mind, tangible body and mind. Every time you take a swig of water during class, you are pushing DOWN the energy you are trying to engender and bring UP, almost nullifying all the efforts that made you think you needed the water in the first place. So try to keep the water to a minimum during class, and then free for all chug as soon as you get off the mat.
Give these three pointers a try, and see if you can’t sail through the rest of your summer yoga!
Always Sweaty, Always Rocking out,